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Migraine Patient or Administrative Assistant?

Migraine Patient or Administrative Assistant?

Lately I’ve been feeling better after a good gripe. Today’s gripe has to do with the grave injustice (forgive the hyperbole… it helps) of having to spend hours every week dealing with the administrative aspects of being a patient, and specially the aspects of accessing healthcare that are (ironically?) incredibly migraine unfriendly.

Arranging, cancelling, and rescheduling appointments is certainly not the worst of my administrative annoyances, but gosh, wouldn’t it be nice to just make an appointment and keep it? Without the cancellation fees? And having to call back again and again?

Then there are the file folders of carefully organized receipts, insurance pre-approvals documents, and research about treatments. Those take up more space on my desk most weeks than anything having to do with paid work.

Putting on my biggest grown up voice to get the answers I need from reticent health insurance customer service agents makes up a large chunk of my administrative duties. It seems as if every week there’s a new issue with my coverage, one that is usually fixed through persistent, time consuming phone calls, and caused by unnecessary bureaucratic, policy-laden, common sense-lacking, chronic pain patient targeting, horse dung. You feel me?

At the very top of my pet peeve list is being put on hold. I love all kinds of music. I would be satisfied with most, but why is it that hold music always has such poor sound quality? Listening to a cracking static with no bass and some shrill jazz flute at any volume is migraine brain’s enemy #1 in my books. What ever happened to good ol’ silence??

There. Phew. That’s better. Now — in the same vein as every cheesy sitcom every written — for the lesson learned.

Venting our frustrations is a normal part of life, of course, but it doesn’t serve anyone to stay all revved up forever. Who has the energy to carry that baggage around all day, especially when dealing with much bigger issues (you know, like parenting, working, or simply trying to live one’s life while managing unruly, disabling symptoms)? So for practical reasons, after a good gripe, it’s important to make like a duck and let this stuff roll off our backs.

I find it helpful to think of migraine as an actual part-time job. It’s unpaid work, or more precisely, wallet draining work, but so are many important jobs in our society. Caring for our elderly, raising our children, keeping our homes tidy and healthy, growing/buying and preparing good food, participating in democratic society (beyond casting a ballot), being kind to others, supporting local artists and athletes, exploring spirituality, etc., are all so important in the building of strong, healthy communities and individuals. We don’t do these things because they make us a buck; we do them because they are important parts of a good life.

Likewise, even though these activities detract from time that could be spent doing paid work, spending time on the phone, organizing receipts, and managing a complicated treatment schedule are necessary parts of living my best life possible.

Would I prefer to not have schedule and re-schedule weekly appointments? Sure.

Would it be nice if insurance companies hired more customer service representatives, trained them more thoroughly, and didn’t create foolish excuses to avoid paying out? Oh, yes.

Would I like to throw my patient paperwork and phone with its hold music in a burning trash can while I roast a marshmallow over the ruins and laugh with reckless abandon? On a regular basis.

Instead I’m going to take a deep breath, make a nice cup of tea, and continue doing what needs to be done.

Does the administrative aspect of being a patient ever make things worse for you instead of better? How do you cope?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • catlady98
    2 years ago

    No, this is NOT me, I don’t know who logged into my account, I need to change my account, then make my comments…

  • Kelly McNamara moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi 1v9d25r. I really apologize about the inconvenience. If you would like since all the comments are public, you can reach out to contact@Migraine.com. Over email, we’ll be able to set up a new account for you. -Thank you, Kelly (Migraine.com Team)

  • DonnaFA moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi 1v9d25r,

    We’re sorry to hear that your account was accessed without your knowledge. If we can be of any help, please don’t hesitate to reach out. -All Best, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • Jani8
    2 years ago

    The first 2 years after I applied for disability were horrible because I fought with Insurance Companies on a daily basis. Well, it felt like daily but it was weekly. I went on COBRA from my last employer. At the beginning of the first of the year my employer switched Insurance companies – AND DIDN’T TELL ME! I fought to get a policy and got the worst one ever. It was more than irritating – it was total anger energy I was coping with and I didn’t have enough energy 8n the first place. I went on Obama Care, but still had issues with Blue Shield. I am now on Medicare with gap insurance that pays everything Medicare doesn’t. It does not cover items that Medicare doesn’t pay on. I have had no problems with anything so far. I hoping it will last. Thank you for letting me vent.

  • Writesonwalls
    2 years ago

    It’s also very difficult for me, when I’m going through a period of intractable migraine for days and days, when I try to call my neurologist and I leave a message and I don’t get a call back. It’s hard to stay on it and keep calling in to the office because my sleep schedule when my migraines are that bad, is usually erratic. I hate going into the ER because they just start pumping me full of everything under the sun. Benadryl, magnesium, steroids, Reglan…I’m sure I’m forgetting some. Its loud there. The smells are strong. The staff talks extremely loud upon entering your room even though you have politely asked if they could speak in a quiet voice. Some of the nurses actually get mad when asked, I’m not exactly sure why. I bring ear plugs and eye mask, and my own ice bag because they will only give out so many ice packs. After patiently waiting for all those medications to tackle my migraine and it isn’t budging, I ask for something for the pain, because I also get very tight muscles and pain in my neck and shoulders and upper back. They say, what do you mean,we already gave you all that stuff for your pain?? So, more specifically I say can I have an analgesic for my pain? And they say No, that isn’t apart of the new neurology guidelines for migraines. My migraine doesn’t go away. They admit me but, not to a regular floor where I would have a quiet private room and bathroom. I’m now on a “observation” floor. I have to walk extremely far to the restroom. It’s very loud. Nurse station beeping and buzzing and loud talking going on around the clock. I try my best to stay calm, get treatment, and get outta there. I feel like no one listens, no one cares. I end up frustrated and in more pain than before I went in. I ended up getting a nerve block in the base of my skull both times. The second time, I had to beg the doctor to do both sides. He came back five hours later and did it. I still had a migraine and was still in pain. I was throwing up. I told the doctor and nurses that I was doing better just to get released. They released me with basin in hand throwing up on the way out. Put me in a wheelchair by the exit and said have a nice day! My mom picked me up brought me home and I convalesced in my bed. This episode was from the end of September to the beginning of November. I have scheduled appointments with new neurologist at a completely different hospital. It’s alot further away but, if they can offer different types of solutions and give me a copy of a protocol for the ER, that will be a tremendous success.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi Writesonwalls, I’m so sorry to hear that you have had such a hard time in the ER, it is sadly a story that happens to many of our members.

    You may want to check Tips and tricks for a successful Emergency Department visit and Emergency Migraine Treatment: Forms to Simplify Matters for some talking points with your new doc to help ease the way the next time you visit the ER.

    We’ll be sending good wishes for your visit with your new neurologist, please keep in touch and let us know how you made out. -Warmly, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • Writesonwalls
    2 years ago

    I just realized that I ranted, my apologies.

  • NeuroMom
    2 years ago

    I think migraines are taxing in more ways than one. Administrative phone call frustration alone can lead to migraine. Each are energy depleting and after a migraine there’s no reserve energy and the battery (self) just doesn’t recharge like it should. Vicious cycle sometimes. I like your authentic and honest descriptions/word usage. It was a nice read, very relatable, Anna Eidt. Thanks

  • NeuroMom
    2 years ago

    bigsue, I wonder if that’s because they’re adrenaline junkies and like the fast tempo. Haha
    It would be annoying!

  • bigsue
    2 years ago

    “Your call is important to us.” Just not realllly important. And last week when I was calling the hospital to check on my elderly dad (feeling a bit frantic while dialling) the on-hold music was disco. Disco! For the emergency room!

  • Luna
    2 years ago

    ” and phone with its hold music in a burning trash can”
    What really made me laugh about this comment is I could almost smell the plastic burning.

  • RBarker
    2 years ago

    But the burning plastic smell would just make things even worse…

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